Northern Ireland saved the best for last as they recorded their first win at the Powerchair World Cup finals in Australia.
Although they played well in the 10-team group stage at the tournament, they only managed to secure two points with draws against Uruguay and Argentina.
The semi-finals and final in the FIPFA (Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association) Powerchair Football World Cup plus placing matches were all staged at Sydney Olympic Park’s Quay Centre today.
And Northern Ireland tasted victory at last by winning the ninth/10th place play-off.
The win was just that little bit sweeter because it came in a derby encounter. They defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-0.
This week Northern Ireland have suffered several narrow defeats and their performances should have led to more points on the board than the two they picked up.
In the contest staged earlier today Northern Ireland opened the scoring against the Republic when Scott Hilland set up Bartek Kuszkowski to fire the ball home from the left wing.
Hilland then capitalised on a mistake at the back from the Republic, smashing it in with a first time shot from distance, to put Northern Ireland two up just before half-time.
Kuszkowski grabbed his second of the match right at the death. The ball fell to him as he exerted pressure on the Republic’s backline and he tucked it away.
The win meant Northern Ireland secured ninth place overall in their first appearance at a Powerchair World Cup finals.
England and reigning world champions France contested the final. The game finished 1-1 after extra time – and France won the penalty shootout 2-1 to retain the World Cup.
The players representing Northern Ireland in Australia this week were: Scott Hilland (captain), Patrick Cumiskey, Bartek Kuszkowski, Jason Browning, Carl McVeigh and Sean McKinney.